Barbecue Hall of Fame Semi-Finalist Press Release

MEDIA ALERT

Will Gregory

American Royal Public Relations
[email protected]
816-645-6116

Kansas City, MO., May 24, 2019 — The American Royal is pleased to announce the Barbecue
Hall of Fame® 2019 Top 9 Semi-finalists from this year’s nominees.

  • John “Big Daddy” Bishop, Tuscaloosa, LA
  • Aaron Franklin, Austin, TX
  • Meathead Goldwyn, Chicago, IL
  • Michael Ray Higgins, Mesquite, TX
  • James Lemons, Chicago, IL
  • C.B. Stubblefield, Lubbock, TX & Austin, TX
  • Wayne Monk, Lexington, NC
  • Jim Quessenberry, Memphis, TN
  • Desiree Robinson, Memphis, TN

Each year, the Barbecue Hall of Fame has the pristine honor of inducting three individuals that have
impacted the world of BBQ. For a full calendar year, nominations for this honor are sent in from
individuals throughout the world and this year, we received over 50 nominations. At the close of the nomination period, each individual nominated is reviewed by the Hall of Fame
Nominating Committee and the list is reduced to the top nine. The nine semi-finalists are then reviewed and voted on by Hall of Fame voting members. Voting members include the Hall of Fame Nominating Committee and all living Hall of Fame Inductees.

The three 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees will be announced on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Barbecue Hall of Fame Induction ceremony and events will take place during the 40th American Royal World Series of Barbecue® held at the Kansas Speedway, September 13 – 15, 2019.

 

About the American Royal Association

Woven through the history of Kansas City since 1899, the American Royal provides opportunities for
youth and adults from around the country to compete in our Livestock Show, ProRodeo, Horse Shows,and the World Series of Barbecue®. These events allow the American Royal, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, to give over $1 million annually for youth scholarships and support agriculture education programs. In 2018, over 101,000 attendees attended American Royal events generating over $60 million of economic impact.

To learn more about the American Royal visit AmericanRoyal.com.

Bonjourno! Like I Said, “Third Best!” Sauce Beautiful Gold Takes Third in “World’s Largest” American Royal BBQ Sauce Contest

Bonjourno! So we did a little thing and entered our brand new Gold Sauce in the KCBS/American Royal “Best Sauce on the Planet” contest and took third place in the mustard based category! The “Best Sauce on the Planet” is an honor given as part of the Annual American Royal World Series of Barbecue® tour and is the largest contest of its kind in the world. It featured nearly 400 entries from 36 states and 8 countries.

Break it Down

Category winners took top honors in five unique categories with an overall winner taking the “Best Sauce on the Planet” overall win. Congratulations to all the winners. We’re honored to be among friends as well as the best of the best. We look forward to seeing you all in the future.

  • Entries were all received by April 26th, 2019.
  • The categories were Mild, Hot, Vinegar, Mustard, and Specialty.
  • Sauces were individually tested in a blind taste test on unseasoned pulled pork.
  • The top awarded sauce in each category was crowned first place in the category where the highest overall score was named “Best Sauce on the Planet.”

 

Category Winners:

HOT TOMATO
1st Place – Pine Ridge Jalapeno Barbecue, Herbadashery LLC – Casper, WY
2nd Place – Q Barbeque Hot Zing Sauce, Q Barbeque – Glen Allen, VA
3rd Place – Meat Mitch Whomp! Competition Sauce, Meat Mitch – Shawnee Mission, KS

MILD TOMATO
1st Place – BONZ Barb BQ Sauce Original Flavor, J Pope Unlimited – West Lafayette, IN
2nd Place – Buckingham, Spicewine Ironworks – Columbia, MO
3rd Place – Triple Crown Organic BBQ Sauce Classic, Acme Organics LLC – Minneapolis, MN

MUSTARD
1st Place – Pine Ridge Sweet Mustard Sauce, Herbadashery LLC – Casper, WY
2nd Place – TD’s Brew & BBQ “Southern Mustard”, TD’s Brew & BBQ – Lovington, NM
3rd Place – Jim Quessenberry’s Sauce Beautiful – Gold, Bluff City BBQ Supply, LLC – Memphis, TN

VINEGAR
1st Place – FireFly Competition Sauce, Firefly Barbecue Limited – Glossop, Derbyshire, United Kingdom
2nd Place – Memphis Mop BBQ Sauce, BBQ Buddha – New Egypt, NJ
3rd Place – Rob’s Sweet Sophistication, Rob’s Smokin Rub & Frog Sauce – Manteca, CA

SPECIALTY
1st Place – BONZ Barb BQ Sauce Bold Flavor, J Pope Unlimited – West Lafayette, IN
2nd Place – JR Okie Smokie Gourmet BBQ Sauce – Chipotle, JR Okie Smokie LLC – Edmond, OK
3rd Place – Raspberry Tequila Lime, New Venue LLC ( Down Under BBQ) – Fridley, MN

 

What it Means to Us

We were thrilled to be a part of history and are even more thrilled to further cement Jim Quessenberry’s legacy in the history of championship barbecue. Using this honor to bolster our fanbase, we intend to continue our expansion of sales with online sales and local grocers. We’d like to take a few minutes to thank our fans, friends, and families for enabling us to grow even as we continue to press on with our busy schedules and day to day lives. It’s truly awesome to continue on with a legacy while paving new roads into the future of barbecue.

Pat Yourselves on the Back

We’d like to thank the following people for their help taste testing, labeling, bottling, mixing, and developing Sauce Beautiful Gold:

 

Product Development and Taste Testers

  • Jeff Marchetta
  • Patrick Wilson-Marchetta
  • Krystal Quessenberry
  • Donna Hill
  • Aaron Houston
  • Amanda Marks
  • Steven Trotter
  • Crystal Phillips
  • Brad Benefield
  • Natausha Light-Benefield

 

Lock ’N’ Load Tailgate Team

  • Jeremy McGinnis
  • Jim McGinnis
  • Jennifer McGinnis
  • Hannah McGinnis
  • Tommy Rohlfing
  • Josh Melton
  • Jeff Chastain
  • Josh Roberts
  • JoAnn Roberts

 

Manufacturing, Packaging, and Fulfillment

  • Delta Cuisine & Arkansas State University Mid-South, West Memphis, AR
  • Packaging Solutions Group, Jonesboro, AR
  • Arkansas Glass Co., Jonesboro, AR
  • Master Print Group, Jonesboro, AR
  • Hays Food Town, Northeast Arkansas
  • Food Smart, Jonesboro, AR
  • Food Giant, Northeast and Central, AR
  • Harp’s, Jonesboro, AR

Thanks to everyone for making this happen!

 

Lee and Michael Quessenberry

Hey Joe! Where You going with that fork in your hand?

Holy smokes! We’re giving away a Weber Smokey Joe just to see who can step up and claim bragging rights for their recipes involving tabletop grills. Think you have a good dish? Well then dish it out.

Are you the master of bratwurst at your local picnic table? Do you live in a van down by the river but yearn to entertain guests by cooking steaks one at a time? Are you a vegan looking to start small on your journey to real food? If so, the Smokey Joe is right for you. If you already have one and are an ace grillmaster of all things small, let us know. We want to hear about it. Leave a comment below and be sure to check out our latest giveaway.

In the mean time, here’s a simple bratwurst recipe fit for a tabletop king!

Go get some Johnsonville Brats at your nearest grocery store. If you like the cheese ones, that’s cool. We’re going to add a little twist of flavor to them that will set you apart from the rest of your tailgate team. Got the brats? Okay good. Fire up the Smokey Joe with a handful of coal.

Now we need some other ingredients. Crack a cold one. Drink about half of the beer just to get your mind set and then fill the can or bottle back up with Sauce Beautiful to make a 1:1 beer to sauce ratio mix.

This is where the magic happens. Pour that beersauce mix into a sauce pan or some other kind of container where you can mix it up. If you have a baste brush, that’s great. If you don’t, get a spoon and get to mixing. Once the beersauce is mixed well, set the brats in the pan and let them rest while you carve up an onion.

Mince or slice the onion into pieces that are just small enough to be bitesized but not too small that they can fall through the grill later on. Roll up some foil and/or use a camp pot or small pan with a quarter stick of butter and the onion slices. Dash them with Jim Quessenberry’s Steak Beautiful for a nice even seasoning and then sautee them in the foil/pan/pot over the coals of the Smokey Joe. 

While the onions are cooking and making things smell so good, make sure your fire has a nice pleasant orange and white glow but not raging with flames. Lay the brats on and let them warm. DON’T BURN THE DAMN THINGS! I’ll know. Brats are best cooked slow. Eventually the brats will begin to plump over the warm coals. Baste them a few times with the beer sauce mix. Let them warm until they look like they’re going to explode. That way they’re super juicy. Pull a view onion slivers from your sautée pan/pouch and place them over the brats to get a little char grill flavor.

Once the brats are plump, you can serve them. Take them up along with the onions and serve on large hot dog buns. Spread a few onions on top and drizzle with sauce beautiful for a nice summertime treat at the campsite or back yard.

If you’re interested in more information on the Smokey Joe, here’s a brief history from Weber.

Day 21: Our First Guest Blog Post

I’ve been hoping to capture some of the thoughts of my good friends and family and share them here.  You all may get tired of Lee and I writing all the time. 😛  I thought to myself.. why not get a few friends that love food and love to write about food to share their thoughts and ideas. The following is our first guest blog post by one of my longest friends, Brad Benefield.  Stay tuned for other guest blog posts as well. Some maybe about our dad in the prime of his career, and some may also be about food in general, all should be interesting and entertaining…

-Michael Quessenberry

Growing up with the Qs by Brad Benefield

Jim Quessenberry, or “Quess” as everyone called him, said the recipe for Sauce Beautiful came to him in a dream. Growing up around him, that doesn’t surprise me in the least. Most of us as children begin with an almost infinite capacity for creativity and imagination. For whatever reason, that ability is often lost as we begin to age, with only a small ember still burning within us. It always appeared to me that Quess never stopped dreaming. If anything, his imagination and creativity seemed to become bigger with each year he was on earth. In my memories of Quess that is what stands out to me; He was always creating, joking, and dreaming. Creativity just seemed to flow from him. People loved to sit and talk with him because you never knew what to expect. Every day he had a new joke to tell, a new recipe to cook, or a new invention to build.

As a kid, I knew very little about BBQ beyond the idea of throwing meat over a fire. After becoming friends with Michael and meeting Jim, I quickly learned that it was much more than that. The work and nuance that Quess and the other great cooks put in to making truly great BBQ elevated it closer to an art form than just making a meal. Everything had to be just right: the quality of the meat, the type of wood in the smoker, the sauce, the rub, the temperature; it all culminated into some of the best food I had ever eaten. Also something about the way BBQ is prepared feels like an ancient thing that we forgot about somewhere along the way. There is something very peaceful in the practice gathering around a fire with friends, smoking a pig, and enjoying each other’s company.

Even as a kid, I knew Sauce Beautifulor as everyone in our hometown knew it “Quessenberry Sauce” was something special. It has been wonderful to see the sauce grow and change over the years. I know Jim would be happy to see how Michael and Lee have kept his dream alive and added their own creativity to their father’s legacy. The original Sauce Beautiful is still the same wonderful thing Quess dreamed up so many years ago, and Michael and Lee’s new white and gold sauces add a new spin to that give even more originality to an already unique product. I feel confident in saying wherever the story of Sauce Beautiful goes in the future, there will always be a new joke, a new story, and a new dream just around the corner.

Sauces

Day 15: Five Things You Should Know About Charcoal

We’ve all had our experiments with wood, charcoal, and even gas when cooking outdoors, but did you know that charcoal was originally used for several other reasons including art, medicine, makeup, and metallurgy?

Image By DryPot – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12649706

Charcoal in Art

Charcoal has been used as a pigment for ages to represent the color black. From the earliest paintings and inscriptions to modern art, charcoal is a favorite among a long lineage of expressionists and artists alike. Furthermore, charcoal is microscopically absorbant and can be used as a pigment for dyes used to create black and grey fabrics.

Charcoal in Medicine

Charcoal is one of a few age old home remedies for dietary and digestive issues. For centuries people of the ancient world all the way to today have used charcoal to settle stomach aches and other digestive issues. It is so popular that charcoal is still used today in pill form to address and treat ailments.

 

Charcoal in Metallurgy

Charcoal is a fairly clean burning fuel when compared to wood and other organic rich fuel sources. That’s because charcoal has been through a process called pyrolysis, which is like fire anaerobics for trees. That means that wood or other vegetation like Bamboo, is heated to high temperatures with the absence of oxygen which consumes the organic matter and water and dries out the vegetation forming a charred black carbon substance we call charcoal. Since the wood has been burned once, the main byproduct, smoke, is cut in half leaving a combustible substance that puts out way less smoke. When you have less smoke, you can forge and weld metals with fewer impurities which allows for a better quality metal. Charcoal has fueled blacksmith forges from the early beginnings of the bronze, iron, and industrial ages throughout today.

Charcoal in Cosmetics

Like the dyes and paints mentioned before, charcoal can be ground into a microscopic powder pigment and used in a wide variety cosmetic products because it is absorbed very well by the skin and has staying power. Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s Royal Oak?

Charcoal in Cooking

Naturally charcoal is a fuel of choice for many barbecue enthusiasts, and it’s American as Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer… Yep that’s right, charcoal as we know it in the briquet form was invented by Zwoyer in 1897 in Pennsylvania. So 6 years before the Wright Brothers were jumping off of sand dunes with a giant kite, Zwoyer was getting a patent on charcoal, literally one of the most abundant and widely used fuels in the world, because he made it into nice consistent square briquets. And you thought Steve Jobs was a visionary. LOL. This guy reinvented reburning wood and patented it.

It doesn’t stop there though, Henry Ford got into the game and changed it FOREVER. Henry Ford needed a way to recycle and reuse wood byproducts and horsefeed used in his automobile factories so he took the charcoal briquet idea and ran with it. He began producing charcoal and selling it which founded a little company called Kingsford.

So what does all this have to do with Jim Quessenberry BBQ? Well for one you won’t be seeing us using any of Hank Hill’s propane and propane accessories, but furthermore, we prefer to cook most everything with charcoal for a smooth, longlasting, and well controlled fire. I prefer Kingsford, but Royal Oak will do in a pinch. I suppose that makes me a Ford man afterall.

 

Tell you what, why don’t you grab a bottle or two of the good stuff in our shop and share some of your charcoal grilling techniques with us. We’d love to hear your stories.

Day 11: Why Are We Celebrating? Giveaway Announcement

I am nearing the end of this day as I write this, but I wanted to share with you guys why we are celebrating today. If you have read the blog the last few days, you know today is our late father’s birthday, but it is also the go live date of when we took JimQuessenberry.com live in 2016! I’m not going to try to follow Lee’s last blog post because it was really good. So, without further adieu…

We are celebrating by offering a new giveaway! Click Here for Details!

Day 9: National BBQ Month

Sample Plate of BBQ

Today starts one of my favorite months, the month of May. I love May because it is when the weather starts to warm up, and the BBQ grills start to come out. May is a month where the skies can be sunny and the temperature is neither too cold nor too hot. I say that, but I do live in Arkansas where the weather can change drastically on the day. I remember a few years back, in May, on the East side of the state, it was in the high 60s to low 70s, and in the West side of the state it was actually snowing. “Classic Arkansas”. But generally speaking, May is perfect for BBQing and has been consequently named National BBQ Month.

Classic Arkansas
Classic Arkansas

As for me the beginning of May brings back fond memories because 1.) It meant the school year was nearing it’s end, and summer was in grasp. 2.) My friend, Brad’s pool was about to open up. 3.) The Memphis in May BBQ Contest is about to happen. As kids, Lee and I used to ride around the streets of Cherry Valley, AR on our bicycles with the other kids from our neighborhood. We often times would end up at a friend’s house doing summer activities such as: swimming in a horse trough or creating a huge slip and slide using a water hose, a roll of foam rubber, and some baby oil or dish soap. But, the one day that I always looked forward to was Mother’s day, for the obvious reason… yes… I love my mother. Also, it just so happens to be the day that my friend Brad Benefield’s parent’s open their pool. That has remained a staple for summer time fun for me, even til this day. Brad and his wife Natausha often invite me, our friend Seth, and Seth’s wife Eli to come swim at his parent’s pool once it opens. What used to be just fun in the summer has become a tradition we refer to as Pool-B-Q. Brad’s mother Cindy grills up some burgers, hot links, hot dogs, and sometimes chicken. We typically slather ALL THE THINGS up in some Sauce Beautiful and completely disregard the don’t swim after you eat rule.

During the middle of the Month is when The Memphis in May BBQ Contest begins. This was my father’s favorite contest. He liked it for many reasons. One reason of course being it’s proximity to where we lived, only about 50 mins away, but dad was also fond of Memphis itself. Memphis is a cool town, with it’s strong roots in Blues, Rock, and BBQ. Dad loved music, food, and people, and what better venue than Memphis in May BBQ Festival to be around all of those things? I’m not certain if dad attended the first MIM contest, but I know that he did attend the second one in the late 70s, and all the competitors were under one tent in the Orpheum parking lot. A lot has changed since then. Dad competed there until the mid 90s, receiving a handful of trophies, but what proved to be more significant were the friends he had made in the competition BBQ scene. He made friends with many people who are big names in competition BBQ these days such as Ardie Davis, Carolyn Wells, the late Silky Sullivan, and the late Billy Bones to name a few. Like him, a lot of those friends were defining what we know today as American BBQ, and Competition BBQ.

Ardie Davis and I
Ardie Davis and I

 

What this May brings us besides fond memories, is opportunity. We plan to vend at a several events this year to grow our business, and I have a secret for you guys. We have another giveaway to announce in two days. Details to come… We chose May 3rd because it is dad’s birthday, and also the 2 year anniversary of taking www.jimquessenberry.com live. Keep the smokers rolling and beers flowing my friends.

Day 5: The Ultimate Glossary of Terms About Barbecue

Lots of things have happened lately in our little part of the world of barbecue, but it’s been such a busy day that I haven’t had time to tell you all a story. Instead, I have challenged myself to think of as many slang, jargon, and technical terms about barbecue so that you can have a laugh or become more knowledgeable or both.

Texas Crutch – This is a technique where simply wrapping the entire cut of meat, whether pork or beef, in aluminum foil to speed up the cook time and tenderize the meat. It allows very little moisture to escape and significantly decreases the time it takes to reach a desired internal temerature. Some frown upon it, but we use it in many different cases for a variety of simple and effective reasons.

Indirect Heat – Cooking a piece of meat that is offset from the heat of the grill or firebox. The heat is transferred through convection to the meat for a slow and juicy cook. When mixed with smoking techniques you get a juicy and delightfully smoky flavor.

Direct Heat – Just like it sounds. Steaks, burgers, and pork chops are mostly cooked on a hit grill or surface directly over the source of heat. Think conductive heat.

Cold Smoking – It’s not quite what it sounds, but cold smoking is when you cook meat slowly, and I mean s-l-o-w-l-y over a reduced amount of heat. Think of a smokehouse that makes smoked jerky. The cooking is done at temperatures often in the 100-200 degree range and over several hours to days. It’s a unique and traditional form of cooking where meat is often hung up in closet sized sheds and smoke is flowed through the chamber from a very indirect heat source.

Temps – Slang for checking the temperatures of both the meat and your smoker or grill.

Whole Hog – Literally a whole pig that is roasted over a fire or indirect heat.

Babyback Ribs – Ribs from the back near the loin of a pig.

Spare Ribs – Ribs from the bottom or stomach area of the pig.

Yard Bird – Chicken.

Marinading the Chef – Drinking beer, booze, or spirits while you wait on a large cut of meat to cook.

Dry Ribs – Ribs that are often associated with Tennessee characterized by an abundance of chili powder, paprika, red pepper, or other spices to form a dry texture on the surface of the ribs. Traditionally served without barbecue sauce on them.

Wet Ribs – Ribs served with an abundance of barbecue sauce slathered onto the surface of the ribs.

Well Done Steak – To plead with the chef or grillmaster requesting that you’d like to be punched directly in the face for being a giant moron with terrible taste.

Turbinado Sugar – Raw sugar from the cane.

Red, White, and Black – A commonly used rub recipe consisting of chili powder, salt, and black pepper.

White Sauce – Something Big something Gibson something something Alabama tradition… We sell our own. You can buy it here.

Table Sauce – A sauce like Heinz 57, A1, Worcestershire, etc.

Serving Sauce – A sauce you would serve your BBQ dish with or prepare the dish with near the end of the cook or just after when you’re ready to serve. Could be considered a finishing sauce.

Thermometer – A fancy heat measuring device that nearly always goes missing.

Hickory – God’s gift to mankind so fire would have purpose.

Gas Grill – Something you take to a metal recycling facility for pocket change.

Have any others you’d like to add? Send us a comment below.

Day 3: Why We Love Smoked Pork (And You Should, Too!)

There are many delicious forms of barbecue, but our favorite is very obviously pork. There are a lot of good reasons for this and you will probably agree that they are all worthy of your attention.

Whole Hog

One of the most ambitious cooks you will ever try is the whole hog. It is a lesson in patience, skill, and technique that few have experienced, but it is worth every minute of experience. When you smoke a whole hog, you better set aside at least 2 days of going nowhere and staying on top of your assignment.

The whole hog is very rewarding and will feed dozens of people. The meat is very tender throughout the shoulders, ribs, and ham areas. When cooking a whole hog it is good to remember that you have time to get it done right. Always set aside 24 – 30 hours of time including prep and serving so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

The whole hog has a distinct and mouthwatering flavor that is unlike any portion of the hog that you might have otherwise cooked separately. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a baby-back rib cut directly from the animal. It is absolutely the freshest, juiciest, and most flavorful way to eat baby-back ribs. Follow Michael’s instructions here for an experience that is like none other. Be sure to pick up a few bottles of sauce or rub beautiful to go with the hog.

As a child I remember seeing my first whole hog cook at a BBQ competition. To me it looked like something you would see a tribe cook on some island far away from Arkansas.

Michael Quessenberry
https://jimquessenberry.com/going-whole-hog/

Ribs

My favorite barbecue dish has to be baby-back ribs. Sure there are spare ribs and St. Louis style ribs, but my favorite are baby-back ribs hands down. Let’s break it down. Spare ribs are from the belly and are meatier, larger in size, and often times tougher than baby-back ribs which come from closer to the loin. Because of this, baby-back ribs are more tender and take less preparation and cooking to get a wonderful and flavorful entree. St. Louis ribs are basically just trimmed and squared spare ribs. They’re uniform in appearance and have less grissel on them, but don’t be fooled, they aren’t “back” ribs.

Some folks like “dry” ribs, which when done properly, I LOVE, and some folks like to get messy with saucy wet ribs. I like something a bit more in the middle. My ribs tend to have the chew of a dry rib with a glazy candy shell similar to my shoulders or butts. Using Rub Beautiful and Sauce Beautiful as a glaze, the ribs come off the smoker with a very thick and satisfying bark that will leave you wanting more even if you’re full.

For more information on how I prepare ribs, see Lock and Load Ribs.

Pulled Pork

Ah the classic pulled pork sandwich, an American staple. Although the best sandwiches are often a mix of pulled pork from a whole hog, the traditional pulled pork sandwich is made from the shoulder, butt, or picnic ham portion of the hog cooked on its own, pulled and/or chopped, and placed between two buns with a dollop of homemade coleslaw topped with a squirt of Sauce Beautiful to complete the perfect BBQ sandwich.

 

When cooking a butt or shoulder, I generally season and coat the meat with a very liberal amount of Rub Beautiful and place the meat with the fat side down (to prevent bitterness and greasy meat) on the grate with an indirect heat source. Then I smoke the meat about 4-5 hours to get a good smoke ring in the meat. I do this at about 225-250 degrees. After 4-5 hours, wrap the shoulder or butt in aluminum foil and finish it off to about 195 internally. The bone should wiggle free without hassle when the temp hits 195 to 200.

Pull the meat and/or chop it and serve on sandwiched. Your mouth and friends will thank you.

Day 1: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Barbecue

There are many tips and tricks as well as tools of the trade that competitors and pitmasters use quite often to get the best results. We’re going to let you in on a few that we use quite often to get things going. We’ll start with the essential, and that’s fire.

Vegetable Oil and Paper Towel Fire Starter

So there are quite a number of methods for starting a fire including shorting out a car battery, gasoline and matches, dryer lint and a lighter, and so on, but these tend to be dangerous and/or extremely bitter in flavor. I’d like to share our favorite method which is odorless and doesn’t make your barbecue taste bitter.

About 10 years ago or so we were competing in a whole hog and shoulder competition and it was cold outside. Fire was not only necessary for cooking, but to stay warm. Luckily our good friend Jonathan Conley came prepared. He showed up with a gallon Ziploc bag full of folded squares of paper towel soaking in vegetable oil. We simply took one out, crumpled it into a mound about the size of half a baseball and set it under the charcoal chimney. All that was left to do was light one of the paper corners on fire and wait about 15 minutes for perfect white-hot glowing coals.

Use With Caution: Built in Handheld Thermometer

Seriously. Use this with caution. We’re not liable for you doing something dumb and burning yourself. Now that we have that outta the way, here’s a neat trick for at a glance slow smoking of larger meats. Ideally we like to smoke pork shoulders, butts, or even a whole hog at 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit and most of the time our built in chamber thermomometers work, but just like the old saying of Murphy’s Law goes, if it can happen it will. That’s never more true than when you depend on thermometers and they’re broken and/or miscalaibrated and you’re trying to check the heat of your smoke box.

Let’s say your instruments all break. Don’t sweat it. If this happens to you, a handy trick is to palm test the smoke chamber. Now, don’t go trying to palm the firebox. If you do, that’s not on me and your mom should have spent more time teaching you common sense, but alas, you’ll figure it out. The palm test is when you don’t want to open the smoke chamber and lose all the heat, but you want to know confidently that you have enough heat to cook with. It’s simple. Slowly approach the chamber with your palm open. If the heat is too much to bear even before you get close to the smoke box, your cooking too hot and too fast and need to choke down your stacks or your firebox air supply to cool down the fire. If you get to the surface with your palm and you’re able to comfortably place your hand on the surface for a considerable amount of time, then your fire is too cold and you’re on a slow pace to get done. The perfect amount of time to place your hand is to firmly apply your palm for a second or two before it becomes too uncomfortable and burns you. This is usually a decent enough heat to keep things rolling although you’ll want to phone a buddy and get something a little more accurate to read the temp.

All in all it’s a quick trick to keep you rolling, especially if you’re cooking overnight and thermometers aren’t readily available for a few more hours.

 

Turbinado Sugar

Ever see a Boston Butt that looked like the inside of a chimney? Overdone, carburized, burnt to a crisp? We’ve all been there, but what if I told you that all of them aren’t burnt that bad? Would you believe me? What if I told you there is a way to reduce the chances of over caramelization and blackening of the bark on your smoked cuts of pork and still have a sweet flavor? Would you want to know what that is? Sure you would.

Our main rub, Rub Beautiful, is made of Turbinado sugar just for that reason. Turbinado sugar is raw cane sugar before it has been processed, bleached, or had molasses added to it like brown sugar. Most people will confuse it with brown sugar, but it is in fact the mother of all sugar. The reason it is so much better for a finished bark on your barbecue is because it hasn’t yet been processed and has a higher threshold for crusting and turning black under high heat. In fact, when mixed with paprika or chili powder in your rub base (not unlike Rub Beautiful) it will give you a beautiful brick red color during the caramelization stage of smoking the meat. It makes for a beautiful finish and wonderful taste that’s not overpoweringly sweet, not crunchy or burnt, and defintely not bitter. It’s a neat trick that’s sure to please your next barbecue audience whether in competition or in the back yard.

Other Quick Tricks

  • No prep table? Easy, use a truck tailgate and some aluminum foil.
  • No wind for the firebox? Use a shop fan.
  • Dirty grates and no brush? Heat em up and ball up a wad of aluminum foil to scrub them with using a stick.
  • We’ll do a whole separate blog post on aluminum foil and duct tape.